Last week saw the publication of a new ODI working paper on the implications of complexity for development agencies. In his latest paper, Harry Jones examines the role of information and knowledge in improving results and ways of working.
The first half of the paper focuses on ways in which readers can determine the nature of the problems they face and explains how complex problems challenge “traditional approaches to implementation.” The second half of the paper provides an overview of different approaches that can be employed in order to navigate complex problems, focusing on “when, where and how” complexity needs to be addressed.
Well-written and thought-provoking, the paper is a concise summary of some of the key ideas ‘out there’ about how to navigate complex problems. Harry also provides a good series of annotated ‘sign-posts’ to tools and approaches which will be useful for anyone looking to learn more about this important area of work. The paper provides a useful complement to the 2008 ODI working paper on complexity and aid (which Harry and I worked on together, along with other colleagues at ODI), looking at some of the ideas presented there through fresh eyes.
As leading development thinker David Booth notes in his foreword, there is much here for readers to engage with, “arrive at their own conclusions, and be enriched in the process.”
A very good contribution to the growing literature in this area.